Congressional District 7 candidates — Downtown Phoenix campus | #Education


The candidates running for Arizona’s 7th Congressional District, presiding over the Downtown Phoenix campus area

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego looks to secure a fourth consecutive victory in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Republican challenger Josh Barnett will face an uphill battle against Gallego, who FiveThirtyEight predicted has a greater than 99% chance of winning.

The election will also feature two write-in candidates: Republican J. Travis Kirkham and Libertarian Roxanne Rodriguez. 

Ruben Gallego — Democrat

Gallego is a former Marine who has served as the representative for Arizona’s 7th Congressional District since 2015. Gallego previously served as a representative in the Arizona Legislature. 

Gallego has been an outspoken opponent of President Donald Trump and his policies.

Education: Gallego criticized U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ proposal of Education Freedom Scholarships in a 2019 letter, which would have allowed individuals and companies who donate to scholarships for students in private schools and other institutions to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit.

On his government website, he cited its similarity to Arizona’s tax credit program, which he said has “consistently caused Arizona’s public schools to rank in the bottom five in the nation.” 

Gallego is supported by the National Education Association.

Health care: Gallego played a large role in making COVID-19 testing available around the Phoenix area. He worked with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego to provide advanced testing and establish more testing cites.

Gallego is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick supported the Arizona branch of a liberal group, Protect Our Care, which works to protect the ACA for Arizonans. 

Immigration and border control: In 2019, Gallego worked with the late Rep. John Lewis on a bill that would allow recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals easier access to higher education. 

One of his top priorities in his campaign is to protect immigrants, according to his campaign page.

Economy: Gallego supported putting money toward schools and Head Start programs, Medicare and for the development of renewable energy programs in a budget passed by House Democrats. 

Head Start programs are built to promote school readiness for young children from low-income areas. 

Civil rights and civil liberties: Gallego has called for “common sense” gun laws and has supported legislation that reduces gun violence. 

Gallego’s campaign prioritizes protecting LGBTQ+ communities, and he serves as vice-chair for the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.

Gallego is also the first vice-chair for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and vice-chair and tribal liaison for the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Josh Barnett — Republican

Barnett is an Arizona businessman who describes himself as being pro-God, pro-gun, pro-life and an “America first” politician who will put people over politics. 

Education: Barnett has promoted school choice, which allows public education funds to follow students to public, charter or private schools in Arizona. 

Barnett has opposed schools staying remote during the pandemic.

Health care: Barnett has supported defunding Planned Parenthood. He also says that if elected, he will work to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

Immigration and border control: Barnett believes in streamlining the process for legal immigration,but takes a hard stance regarding illegal activity, such as weapon and drug smuggling and human trafficking, along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

One of his biggest campaign priorities is ending child trafficking. Barnett’s campaign states he is working to bring legislation to help bring due process for families in court.

Barnett made a statement in a Facebook post in January condemning Gallego’s stance on immigration.

Economy: Barnett says he will advocate for small government, reduce government spending and protect businesses from regulations. Barnett has criticized former Vice President Joe Biden’s tax plan as being an example of “socialism.”

Civil rights and civil liberties: Barnett’s campaign promises to protect a citizen’s right to bear arms. He also holds pro-life views.


Reach the reporter at drodish@asu.edu and follow @david_rodish on Twitter.

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